Time to Lime
("to lime" is a Trini term used to describe spending time with your friends and family talking and enjoying food and drink)
It was interesting to see Saturday morning how each of the team members perceived self-care in order to regroup for the following week. Even though we work “without labels” here on the Regent trauma team, members seemed to fall into four simple categories; the beach touchers, the park viewers, the mall retail therapy clients, and the invisible cave dwellers. For the Ph.D.’s who require sub categories, there were the coffee consumers, snack sniffers, and coconut crackers…however…one digresses.
The purpose of self-care is three fold. Firstly, every trauma worker should model what he or she teaches. The very people, who want to change the world, also have difficulties enjoying their surroundings. Simple questions we like to ask ourselves are…do you still laugh? Can you still cry? Have your goals over taken your ability to sleep and/or ability to reason. If there is a pause to any of these questions, it is time to slow down and re-evaluate the weekend. Our team picked their desired activity and returned with a new resolve and calm. They also knocked on the doors of cave dwellers to check for signs of movement.
Secondly, stress produces illness. Regardless of age, it would seem that every front line worker forgets his or her humanity. Very few want to embrace the reality, that if they function without sleep for too long, there will be a permanent health consequence.
Lastly, burn out is real. The common definition of burnout; is being completely exhausted by one’s work. Whether working for the pay, volunteering and or helping others, the greater the need, the deeper the desire to try harder. However, like the airlines quote in compassion fatigue training; “put on your own mask first, before helping another”.
By Paula L. Henderson
BA in Public Administration,
MS cert. Emergency Preparedness and Crisis Management